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How to Host a Budget-Friendly Fourth of July Party at Your House (and Enjoy Yourself Too!)

Jun 28, 2018 - Posted by: Rocky Mountain Credit Union

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it’s time to think about having some friends over for some summer fun. This year, relax and plan a party that won’t bust your budget or stress you out. While this may sound tough, it can be done! We’ve put together some budget friendly ideas for events, decor, food and drinks to give you plenty of options to have the best Fourth of July party ever.

Schedule your party around other events that are going on in your community like parades or fireworks shows. Doing this will give you the opportunity to do something fun around town and limit the amount of time that you have to entertain people in your home. When inviting people to your party, make sure that they know what event you will be attending and what time it starts. Everyone can carpool to the event and head home once it is over. We put together some budget friendly activities in your community that might suit your schedule.  

 

Helena activities

Helena has some great Fourth of July celebration options for you and all of your friends.

Family and the 4th- Capital City Celebration at Centennial Park

Prickly Pear Community and East Helena Fireworks Celebration

Matt Strachan and the Hoot Owls at Pioneer Park- July 4th.

If you decide to attend one of these events, your invitations might sound something like this:

"Join us for a barbeque and fireworks. Barbeque starts at 5:30, then join us for fireworks in East Helena at 8:30.”  or “Food, Friends, and Music. Barbequing starts at 2:00 then come and get your groove on at Pioneer Park – we will be leaving at 4:00.”

 

Bozeman activities

Bozeman residents you also have a lot to choose from. Ideas for your Fourth of July party are:

Bozeman Fireworks Celebration

Music in the Mountains in the Heart of Big Sky

Get Your History on during the Ice Cream Social at Museum of the Rockies

Consider invitations that sound something like these:

“Food before Fireworks! We will be having a barbeque at our place starting at 5:00 and will be leaving for the fairgrounds at 8:30.” or “Celebrate the 4th with us. The potluck will begin at 2:00 and the we will go to Big Sky for Music in the Mountains. We will be leaving here at 4:30. Bring chairs or a blanket and come boogie with us in Big Sky.”

Butte Activities

Butte residents can expect a big blow out for the Fourth including fireworks on the 3rd and a Parade on the 4th!

Butte Freedom Festival

Consider invitations that sound something like these:

"Stop by for casual afternoon barbeque bites post Parade! Bring snacks to enjoy while watching fireworks displays compliments of our fellow Buttean neighbors in the evening."

 

Keep it Simple When it Comes to BBQ

Nothing says “Fourth of July” like hotdogs and hamburgers. These are classic barbeque options that won’t ruin your budget and will keep your guests happy. Kids are always satisfied with hotdogs and many adults look forward to the opportunity to enjoy a guilt-free treat on the holiday. Keep your condiment options simple with some pickles, ketchup, and mustard. There is no need to get fancy when people are going to gravitate toward the classics anyways.

If you have guests attending with special dietary needs, encourage them to bring their own foods for the grill that are compliant with their diets. This ensures that they get to eat and have fun like everyone else, but takes out the stress and costs of trying to please everyone’s dietary restrictions.

Another great option when it comes to your Fourth of July party is to have a potluck where everyone brings a food item. Most people are happy to bring a dish to share, and it gives them the chance to show off their signature dish. You can even coordinate with people before the party to make sure that there is variety in what people are making. This will prevent six potato salads and nothing else to choose from.

Whatever you are cooking, keep it simple. Make side dishes that will help ensure that everyone has enough to eat, but won’t break your budget. Think baked beans in a slow cooker or a couple of 9x13 pans filled with cheesy potato dish. These easy recipes can be made the day before and will keep guests coming back for more:

Cheesy Potato Dish

Baked Beans with Gluten- Free Variation

Beefy Beans with Bacon

When it comes to dessert, try not to get too fancy. Something as simple as a plain white cake with white frosting and red and blue decorations is easy for you to make and will be a hit among your guests. If you absolutely can’t help yourself, and insist on making a special Fourth of July treat, here is a simple and budget friendly dessert idea.

Say Happy Independence Day with a Berry Tart

 

Drinks

When it's hot you have to keep the refreshments cold! Aluminum or galvanized metal tubs for drinks are not too expensive, but are an item to consider borrowing from friends to cut down your costs. You can also fill a kiddie pool with ice and drinks for an inexpensive but effective cooler. When buying soda, buy generic brands or shop the sales.

For an adult drink option, make a sangria. You can make the drink in the morning and have it ready to serve for your party. Make sure to have a few refills in the fridge, because this festive looking drink is sure to be a hit!

Stars and Stripes Sangria

 

Decorations

Before you go to the store and buy out all the red, white, and blue merchandise you can see, take a look at what you already have. Make a list of what you need and try to stick to it so that you are not blowing your budget on unnecessary decorations. When purchasing plates, vases, pitchers, or other containers, buy them in clear or white. This gives you versatility of use for future parties!

When shopping for decorations, don’t be afraid to hit up discount stores. These stores will usually have a lot of themed party decorations but are more affordably priced than some of the name brand stores. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your decorations, either. Discount stores have lots of options to give you plenty of opportunity to create awesome centerpieces and other decorations.

Table coverings can be inexpensive as well. You can usually get vinyl table cloths in a variety of colors (like red and blue) and sometimes you can even get patterns! Hang red, white, and blue streamers off the corners to dress them up and make them more festive. If you are setting a table for kids, cover it with butcher paper and let them do the decorating with washable crayons and markers.

 

Tables and Seating

Plan to have separate food and drink tables. The food table is one spot where you will not want to have a vinyl tablecloth. Slow cookers and hot dishes will melt those festive vinyl table cloths. Plan on butcher paper or cloth.

How many people are you planning to serve? If you are trying to provide table space for everyone and do not already own a couple of banquet tables they run about $40- $50. Trying to seat everyone can break the bank and leave you with several extra banquet tables to store. Consider borrowing tables and chairs from friends. Large blankets on the ground are another option that is inviting and make it easy for families to eat with their children.

 

Have Fun

You’ve done all the planning and now it’s time to party. If the drinks are cold and there is plenty of food to pick from, chances are your guests won't notice elaborate decorations or fancy recipes. Most folks are just happy to have a day off to celebrate the holiday. Make sure you take time to enjoy your guests and have a fun Fourth of July!

 If you need more help budgeting for your Fourth of July party, download our FREE budget sheet! 

Fix Your Finances Download Our Free Budget Worksheet

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